Kentucky falls to Pittsburgh 27-10 in BBVA Compass Bowl

Jan 8, 2011

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — As it turned out, Pittsburgh didn't need a full-time coach to handle Kentucky in the BBVA Compass Bowl.

The Wildcats' ineptitude on offense and special teams turned out to be all the Panthers really needed. UK, which was without suspended starting quarterback Mike Hartline, struggled early to score, and a pair of special teams gaffes set up the Panthers' first two touchdowns as Pitt cruised to a 27-10 win at Legion Field.

It was the worst bowl loss in 15 post-season appearances for Kentucky (6-7) and also wrapped up its first losing season since 2005.

The defense did its part on its first series, as Randall Burden picked off Tino Sunseri at the UK 16.

Morgan Newton drove the Cats into scoring position but gave it right back to the Panthers when he fumbled on a quarterback draw at the Pitt 34.

UK appeared to gain a second straight turnover when Burden recovered what looked to be a Sunseri lateral to Ray Graham, but replay officials overturned the original call and ruled it an incomplete pass.

Kentucky scored first on a 50-yard Craig McIntosh field goal with 5:10 remaining in the opening period, but Pitt responded with a Dan Hutchins 21-yard field goal early in the second.

Things got a little chippy late in the first half. The Pitt offensive line jumped early, but play never completely stopped and UK linebacker Ridge Wilson took down Sunseri. That led to a brief fracas near midfield that resulted in both teams getting flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct.

Pitt got a 33-yard field goal from Hutchins on that possession to go ahead 6-3. Then Adam Taglianetti broke through and blocked a Ryan Tydlacka punt that gave the Panthers the ball at the UK 10. Sunseri scored on a 1-yard quarterback sneak with 34 seconds left in the second quarter, giving Pitt a 13-3 lead going into halftime.

The second half didn't start any better for UK, as a botched fake punt set up Pitt on the Cats' 35. That set up Sunseri's 13-yard TD pass to Brock DiCicco that gave the Panthers a 20-3 cushion with 10:47 left in the third.

Kentucky did put together a 14-play, 74-yard drive to close to within 20-10 late in the period.

After a wide-open Matt Roark dropped a TD pass in the end zone, Randall Cobb carried 19 yards on a reverse to the Pitt 1, and fullback Moncell Allen took it in on the next play with 41 seconds in the period.

UK forced Pitt into a fourth-and-4 from the Kentucky 35 on its next possession, but Sunseri hit Cruz for a 14-yard gain, and Dion Lewis' 2-yard TD run pushed it back to a 17-point lead (27-10) with 10:26 remaining.

Pitt didn't do anything fancy, relying heavily on the running tandem of Lewis (22 carries, 106 yards) and Graham (13 carries, 64 yards).

Newton went the whole way at quarterback for Kentucky, finishing 21-of-36 for 212 yards. He was sacked three times.



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